I couldn’t head into 2013 without some reflection of a few of the fantastic films of 2012! Some years are hit or miss, but this year was hit after hit. I know that in this digital age, not everyone goes to “the movies” anymore. But I’m a sucker for cinema.
I still have not seen all the films that were on my list this year including “Django Unchained“, “Les Miserables“, and the two current favorites for Best Picture which are “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Master.” But I’ll share with you my favorites as well as some that were just okay. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks!
(Disclaimer: I saw these in the theater in 2012 but some were considered to be 2011 films.)
#1 The Intouchables
Hands down, the very best film I saw this year was “The Intouchables” which I saw twice and would see again. I hadn’t seen a film that touched me like this since “Biutiful” in 2010. This was a French film based on the true story of a wealthy man and his unlikely friendship with his caregiver. Actors, François Cluzet and Omar Sy had so much chemistry that I actually believed this story was unfolding before my eyes rather than being acted out. That’s all I will tell you. I won’t give anything away in this blog but I will tell you that I have high expectations when it comes to film and am not easily amused. Oh, and by the way, if you didn’t see “Biutiful,” it’s an absolute must. Get it. Watch it. Love it.
#2 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Some describe “Perks” as a coming of age film, but it was pretty heavy for this genre. I’m not one to censor much of what my 14-year-old son watches, but I would think twice about sending him to this one without following up or prefacing the film with some discussion about drugs, drinking, suicide, and sexual abuse. That said, I thought it was a realistic depiction of the dynamics of high school misfits and the challenges that face teens of every generation even though this story took place in the era of “mixed tapes.” What is it they say? The more things change, the more they stay the same? If this movie had hit the mainstream, it could have had some real staying power and become a teen classic. This may remain on my top ten list for years to come.
#3 Killer Joe
Holy chicken legs! I had mistakenly relegated Matthew McConaughy to the good-looking one-trick pony who occasionally got a decent role but this year, he knocked my socks off. His performance as Killer Joe was nothing short of outstanding. I have to warn you that this film was rated NC-17 but frankly, I didn’t find it to be so utterly offensive or violent. I suppose I’ve become desensitized but it wasn’t so bad. Our friendly silver-haired box office attendant had given us fair notice that we could only request a refund within the first 20 minutes of the film, which was really quite comical since there isn’t anything that happens in that 20 minutes that would make you want to leave or even expect that you might get there. Nonetheless, this flick offers comedy, intrigue, suspense, drama, shock, and phenomenal performances all the way around.
Speaking of Matthew McConaughy and killer roles, he played the hell out of prosecutor, Danny Buck in this witty true comedy about Bernie. I don’t know of any other true crime story that will make you laugh the way Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and McConaughy will in this one. Between the incredible cast and the townspeople interviews, you will grow to love Bernie, hate Danny Buck, and root for the bad guy.
#5 Moonrise Kingdom
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about this one. Moonrise Kingdom is funny, smart, quirky, and downright adorable. I can’t imagine an audience who wouldn’t enjoy this film.
#6 Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
It was a predictable, yet fun little tale of several retirees coming together to live out their days in India at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Enjoyable, worth seeing.
#7 Hello I Must Be Going
A divorcee’s experience of finding her true self and learning what love really is while earning the respect of her doting parents. I enjoyed this story very much. The characters were likable, the sentiment real, and the outcome inspiring. A classic chick-flick best shared with your girlfriends and over a bottle of wine and some Ben & Jerry’s.
#8 Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Not everyone liked this one, but I found it interesting. I like a metaphysical story line with a point. If you’re searching for the meaning of life or just appreciate seeing what typecast actors like Ed Helms can do when given a chance, you’ll enjoy “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.”
#9 Ruby Sparks
Ruby Sparks was a refreshing romantic comedy. Unexpected and new. This was a cute story and one that was told in a way that hasn’t been done a thousand times before. This could go either way for you but I thought it was worth seeing.
#10 Beasts of the Southern Wild
Gosh, what can I say? Beast of the Southern Wild was…well…weird. I enjoyed it but I didn’t always “get” it. I loved the characters and the cinematography. And I sort of loved the story even though, I was not quite sure of the point from time to time. I walked away wishing I was one of those deep hipsters who already understood the hidden meanings and didn’t have to strain my brain to put together the pieces. But all-in-all, I’m not sorry I saw it and would probably watch it again.
Arbitrage was okay. It was good enough to have seen it but it should have been a made-for-TV movie. This was a typical Richard Gere flick. Even at his age, he’s still eye candy but his movies are predictable and formulaic. Still enjoyable but like I said, good for TV.
#12 This Must Be The Place
Please go see this one so you can explain to me what on earth it was supposed to be about. Sean Penn always does a role justice and he will not let you down in This Must Be The Place. However, there’s something about his character that’s not quite right, but I’m not sure what it is.
On a side note, I have a love/hate relationship with my Apple TV which is quite schizophrenic when it comes to streaming Netflix. But these are some that I watched this year from years past that if you haven’t seen, and you like the movies I liked above, you probably will enjoy. Check out Romantics Anonymous, Toast, and Billy Elliot when you get a chance.
Please share your thoughts and make some recommendations for me as well! Can’t wait to hear about your “picks!”